Object Title




300 BC

Object Number



Purchased 1853. Said to have come from a tomb at Cumae near Naples. Transferred on loan to the British Museum, 1914, returned 1972.

Physical Description

Armour of bronze, consisting of a south Italian Chalkidean type helmet surmounted by a pair of engraved sheet bronze wings and a pair of spiral wire feather tubes which terminate in snake heads. A central crest support was once fitted. The cheek-pieces are missing and the left side of the rim over the brow is slightly damaged. The brow band is engraved with a hair finge ornament, and with engraved lions' heads at either end. The helmet was once fitted with a nape extension, which became separated before 1853 (see iv.544). Cuirass consisting of a square breast and back plate shaped slightly to fit the torso embossed with stylised anatomical detail. The backplate has two hinges at the right, the lower one covered with a bronze panel decorated with palmettes, the upper one most probably originally from the left side, and replaced in error. A deep bronze belt with double hook fastening protected the abdomen below the cuirass. The belt of composed of fragments of four different belts. The edges are bordered with lining holes, spaced and 30 mm, 12 mm, 15 mm and 20 mm left to right. The belt hooks are of type 2b, and replaced earlier belt hooks of type 1 whose outlines can be seen on the metal. A pair of spring-on greaves, accurately formed to fit the lower leg, have stylised embossing on the knee extensions. Pairs of rings are situated above and below the back openings for securing ties. A pair of ankle/thigh defences, designed to spring on, and decorated with embossed ornament. The whole armour contains numerous 19th century restorations ib brass sheet. Restorations in plaster of paris of this time were replaced in fibreglass, and the whole armour conserved, in 1988.
Campanian armour consists of: A Helmet; B Breast and backplate; C Bronze belt; D Thigh defences; E Greaves


Dimensions: breastplate height 280 mm, width 310 mm, backplate height 320 mm, width 310 mm, helmet height overall 260 mm, depth 210 mm, width 175 mm, greaves height 400 mm, width 110 mm, belt width 85 mm, thigh/ankle guards height 270 mm Weight: breastplate 1050 g, backplate 1000 g, belt 450 g, thigh/ankle guards 250 g, right greave 750 g, left greave 700 g


Bibliographic References

John Hewitt, Official Catalogue of the Tower Armouries, London, 1859, no. I.19


First published in the Illustrated London News, April 1853, p. 261.